February 27th, 2005


Personal--The Best of Times

I have had a very good run, looking at the last few days as far as my social life is concerned. I went out for a great long dinner at Mo's Irish Pub on Thursday night with Markus Wriedt, our prestigious imported Reformation scholar who comes over for a month-and-a-half each semester from Germany to do a condensed course for the Historical Theology section of the program. Despite the fact that I've not done any Reformation-era coursework while I've been here (although I really wanted to squeeze in his course on the ever-cool Erasmus), Markus and I have been on really friendly terms and have been managing to become friends despite his limited time here in town. This was a real chance just to relax and enjoy one another's company, without the feeling that we're distracting one another from work, particularly when I'm just dropping in on him in his office while he's writing and then we end up talking for an hour, unplanned. Over my shepherd's pie and his walleye, we got a lot of talk in about his family and where they live, some of the ministry that he has done--officially and unofficially.

A lot of talk, while touching back at times into matters of faith, really went into very different directions: talk about food and about the art of hosting was one long topic, after we had moved over to John Hawkes' Pub for drinks. Wine held its own as a subject, with some recommendations coming from him that I was able to put into use the next few days. We did have a long talk about pedagogy that was interesting, particularly on the topic of the student-teacher relationship in a theological context. That led us into talking about movies with a teaching emphasis and what those stories meant to us, with Markus talking very enthusiastically about the Kevin Kline pic from a few years ago, The Emperor's Club, which was featured in an entry in this very journal back on July 1st of 2004. Naturally, I brought up what I think is my number-one movie about being a teacher, which is Mel Gibson's directoral debut, The Man Without A Face. In fact, should probably think about those rankings again, though. Not dissing Gibson's pic, but saying that perhaps Emperor's Club deserves further consideration: I really should watch it again. Maybe I'll grab Markus for a showing. It was a long, good evening, full of talk, and for me those are the absolute best of times. We plan to do it again before he flees the country.

Wrapping things up more quickly than they deserve, given that time is running away from me, Friday night was sci-fi night with Mike Harris, featuring a very good Enterprise, a kick-ass Galactica (there's a nightmare of unresolved moral implications for you--that makes for fine drama), and a good splattering of theological talk, particularly of a medieval thinker he's working on of whom I've never heard, and of my ongoing "dense reading" of Augustine's De TrinitateXV.46 for Barnes, with Mike making some good suggestions about following up a thread Augustine had regarding the idea of original sin.

Saturday then had me, Harris, Dan Lloyd and Prof. Barnes heading out to see the new Constantine film, with Keanu Reeves starring as DC Comic's John Constantine in what we thought was a pretty good spiritual thriller for a Hollywood film using Hollywood's version of Christian theology. This was followed by something like six hours of conversation over a great chicken parmesan that Amy Lloyd made, and a worthy chocolate cake that Dan made. Lots of theology floated into this conversation, along with equal portions of movie and sci-fi talk, which in time seemed to be boring Amy and Donna Harris to death, so they left us alone around the kitchen table for some hours.

In short, I award the Lloyd's 1,000,000 points for hospitality, and am off to Aaron and Dawn Smith's for their annual Oscar party tonight, which will cap off a four-day weekend of social events very nicely. I've even managed to do a bit of work on my dense reading! No, really! You see, there's all this relevant stuff in Ambrose's baptismal sermons, On The Mysteries, which Augustine would have heard as a new, 33 year-old convert, and....
  • Current Mood